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Radio Protocol

Radio communication is one of the most important aspects of our games. It is both a vital way for squads to collaborate as well as for commanders to direct their troops around the area of operations. Talking on radio can be a lot more challenging than it sounds. Taking on the role of a Radio Telephone Operator or similar can be one of the most challenging jobs in the game. A mission where nobody communicates is bad, but a mission where you cannot hear anything because the airwaves are clogged with unnecessary conversation is doomed to failure. A good communicator is able to transmit information quickly, cleanly and without any room for confusion.


The BAsics

Proper radio protocol is one of the cornerstones of successful operations. Following a few simple procedures, and knowing the appropriate times to speak versus when to listen, can be the difference between life and death. With that in mind, this guide will give you some guidance on proper radio operation, as well as brief description of common pro words used on the net. 

Transmitting ON The Net

     Whether you're a Squad Leader, a Vehicle Commander, or a Platoon Leader, at some point you're going to have to communicate with other elements in your assault. Combat is stressful, chaotic, and abrupt, and in the midst of combat, it becomes very difficult to process and act on all the information being thrown at you, especially when you aren't sure what information is pertinent. For this reason, when speaking over the net it is important to identify both the call sign you are calling, as well as which call sign you are. For example, if  Alpha Squad noticed enemy troops moving towards Bravo, They'd relay something like this: "Bravo, this is Alpha Over" "Alpha, Bravo, Go Ahead" "Bravo, be advised, you've got a platoon sized element heading towards your position, at 260, about 600 meters, Over" "Alpha, Bravo, Copy" "HQ, Bravo, Stand by for fire mission". Saying the unit you're calling's call sign first will pique their attention, ensuring they are listening before you transmit your message. Saying your call sign tells them who they are replying to, as well as giving them an idea where this information is coming from (As long as you know the elements current position). This also clues other units on the net to what is going on elsewhere on the battlefield, letting them determine if the information may also be pertinent to them. (for example a, Sniper Team may be on a hill nearby Bravo, and can fill them in with more information on the enemy element).

    Radio Nets can only handle one person speaking at a time, so it is important that the information you relay is quick, concise, and understandable. Enunciation is especially important on a radio net, as it can become difficult to understand common sounding words or numbers as distance widens. This is why it is important to rely on Pro Words, as well as standard NATO unit terms, and the NATO Phonetic Alphabet (Alpha, Bravo, Charlie, etc.). For numbers, it is typical to remove or replace certain letters such as H and V, as they can become confusing. Three would become "Tree", Thousand becomes "Tousand", and Five become "Fife" Four, on the other hand, being that it sounds exactly like the word, is often pronounced with a bit more inflection towards the middle: "Fower", and of course last but not least everyone's favorite, Nine, becomes "niner". Following these simple guidelines will help to ensure that units hear exactly what your intending to say, avoiding any mishaps from misunderstood words or phrases.

Brevity, Brevity, Brevity

    Every second you're speaking over the net is a second someone else can't. Your long, overly detailed single transmission SITREP to the Commander may be overstepping Bravo's cries for MEDEVAC, or Charlies request for a fire mission on a tank that's barreling towards them. Before transmitting over the net, you should be absolutely sure what you're going to say, and should be capable of saying it without pause. However, being that combat is stressful, and situations change incredibly quickly, it's not unlikely that you will freeze up, forget, or hesitate when calling over the net. In these cases, it is much better to call "break" or "one moment", and ending your transmission, as opposed to holding the mic down stutter stepping your words, eating up precious air time that other units could be using. In the same regard, If your transmission requires sending a lot of information, such as a call for fire or MEDEVAC request, remember to "break" at each line. This both allows the receiving party to write down or relay this information, as well as offering other stations on the net the opportunity to interject with more important traffic, such as suddenly making contact, or requiring immediate support. (however, if both units need to send a MEDEVAC request, the unit who began first finishes first, and the medical team can determine which casualty is a higher priority). 


who does what with a radio?

What you do with your radio depends very much what role you are slotted in to for any given mission, but here is a basic rundown of what is expected on you depending on the rank and role you're playing. Communication can play a much larger role in some slots than others to the point where it can be your entire job in some missions. 

Privates/Combat Troops/Fireteam leaders

Your job is mostly to listen and do what your radio is telling you. Most of your conversations will be in talking directly to the people around you with your normal voice.  When you are on radio you will almost always be talking to your squad leader. When you are on radio it will be to inform your Squad lead of contact reports, injuries, fatalities and other similar events that your Squad Lead needs to make decisions on what to do next. 

Squad Leaders

Squad leaders are one of the first instances where players will often have to monitor 2 frequencies at once. You will be expected to relay instructions to the troops under your command including where to go, what to shoot at, as well as when to deploy specific specialist weapons you mind be in control of such as a grenadier's M203 launcher, or anti armor launchers. On the flipside you will also be expected to receive and carry out any orders from the command element leading the mission you will also be expected to keep the command element abreast of what is happening to your unit and any and all intel you can provide about the area of operations.

Radio TELEPHONE OPERATOR/Signaler

The RTO is often a member of the command squad for the mission as can be responsible for receiving,correlating and replying to communications from the whole platoon, it can be one of the most challenging roles in a mission. An RTO will often have a long range backpack radio monitoring multiple channels. They will have to be able to extract the vital information from any and all transmissions and relay it to the platoon leader so they can make decisions on who should do what next. Being an RTO demands a quick brain and the ability to think quickly and speak clearly.  You will be expected to not just communicate with squad leaders in the field, you will be expected to relay firing instructions to specialist units such as mortars or Close Air Support requests to air elements. On top of this you will also be communicating with the command squad to stick together and stay in an effective position.

Vehicle Commander

While in charge of any vehicle asset, you will be expected to maintain contact with Command, and be ready to receive and act on orders quickly and precisely. You may be patched through to squad leaders, and may be expected to understand and comprehend complex instructions detailing specific maneuvers or landing zones. If there is a logistics element, you may also be in direct contact with them if you require refueling, repairs etc. 


Pro Words

Pro words or Procedural Words are a set of words that armed forces use that let you convey information in a quick and concise manner. You may already be familiar with a lot of them. We don't use too many but those that we do use are vital to know both to use them but also understand them when you hear them.

Statement Meaning
OVER Over is used when the person sending the message has finished what they were saying and are either waiting for a reply, or confirmation that their message has been recieved.
ROGER Roger is said by a person recieving a message to confirm that they have heard the message and understand it.
WILCO Wilco is short for "will comply" and is said when recieving instructions from somebody. It confirms that not only have you recieved and understood the instructions, you will carry them out. It is used in lieu of Roger, and never with.
INTEROGATIVE It is often hard to understand voice inflection when on radio. As a result, Interogative is used at the beginning of a radio message to make it clear that what is about to be said is a question requiring an answer as soon as possible.
BREAK Being that brevity is crucial, and radio nets allow only a single transmission at a time, BREAK statements are employed in order to allow other stations a chance to use the net, and are often applied in between long transmission. For example calls for fire, or medevac requests typicall call for a break between each line, to allow other pertinent traffic in. However, sometimes another unit is in great distress, and needs the net cleared immediatly for time sensitive information. In these instances, said unit can call BREAK BREAK BREAK, signalling other stations to clear the net for an important transmission.
SAY AGAIN If a person has misunderstood, or not fully recieved a transmission, he can request the last station to "SAY AGAIN", prompting them to re-transmit their last message. It is imperative that you use the phrase SAY AGAIN, and not REPEAT, as REPEAT is used by fire missions to call for another volley at the same target, and if that target was the Phase Line you just passed, you will regret your mistake.
CONTACT Contact is one of the most important Pro Words you will here or use in Armagoons. Contact means that what is about to follow is a contact report. A contact report is intel about a hostile element. The complexity of contact reports can vary but often contacts are at close range and without warning. The most basic type of contact report is transmitted using the 3 D's DISTANCE, DIRECTION, DESCRIPTION.( "Contact, 10 O'clock, 200 meters, Rifleman") Being that Combat is quick, stressful, and requires your full attention, it is more important that you accurately report distance and direction than it is a description of the unit, you can always call a break statement after giving your troops a distance and direction to engage, and give a more detailed description of the enemy after youve moved your team to a safer position.
EYES ON Eyes on is usually said as a short succinct way of confirming you have a visual on whatever it is you are talking about.
BLUE ON BLUE Blue on blue is an emergency transmission when a unit comes under friendly fire asking other units to check their fire and please stop trying to kill their team mates.
DANGER CLOSE Similar to BLUE ON BLUE, danger close is transmitted when an ordanance weapon such as grenades, shells, rockets or similar are exploding too close to a friendly unit but are not under direct fire such as blue on blue. Danger close is often accompanied by some sort of visual identifier such as "danger close, green smoke" which means that the transmitting unit will mark their location with a green smoke grenade to help the unit that is firing avoid hurting their allies.
SITREP Short for "Situational Report" is a report from a Squad Leader to a Command Element outlining the current status of the squad. SITREPS should be given after every single engagement, and whenever command requests one. SITREPS should include Unit Strength, Enemy Elements Engaged and Killed/Destroyed, LACE(Liquid, Ammo, Casualties, Equipment), and your next movement.